The Australian’s editorial “All compassion, no solutions” (5/3) and Chris Kenny’s follow-up piece “Racism rant won’t wash with the public” (9/3) both attempt to apologise for Scott Morrison’s recent grubby dog-whistling, with misleading claims that “issues of identity, security and refugee status remain” for asylum seekers released into the community. In fact, normal identity, health and security checks are always done before moving people into community detention; any found to be a security risk are not released.
Morrison’s latest blunder has little to do with community policing, and even less with immigration, “border protection” or deaths at sea. “Behavioural protocols” and “tracking” for asylum-seekers, among other “commonsense” proposals conveniently omitted from Kenny’s list, trample democratic principles – including equality before the law, which applies regardless of residency status.
Kenny denies any racial element in Morrison’s position. But can anyone recall such radical suggestions during the influx of white refugees from the Balkan wars?
Kenny may regard these concerns as “moral posturing”, but even Morrison’s colleagues share them, and several have already wisely distanced themselves from his remarks. Kenny should do the same.